Each ship can carry a maximum of eight crew members. Each ship starts with a small crew already on-board, but the rest must be found by the player.
Crew members gain skill through experience working at various ship tasks: Piloting the ship, Shield recharging, running the Engines, Weapons operation, Repairing damage, and engaging in Combat. All races have the same experience gains except humans who are slightly faster.
There are specific crew members that may be found through random events.
Crew members have distinct races (listed below.)
- 1 Human
- 2 Engi
- 3 Mantis
- 4 Rockmen
- 5 Zoltan
- 6 Slug
- 7 Crystal
- 8 Lanius
- 9 Ghost
- 10 The Differences Between Races
- 11 Trivia
- 12 Pages
- Humans are common and uninteresting.
Hailing from Earth, Humans are one of the most common races in the galaxy. Humans comprise the majority of the Galactic Federation and all the Rebellion. Humans learn skills faster due to their reduced XP ability, have no notable weaknesses and are the cheapest race to hire. Additionally, they are the only race with unique male and female sprites; neither have any skillful advantage over the other.
Although the second and third human sprites look near-identical, there is a very minor color difference in their hair, likely representing blond and brown hair.
+ Skills improve slightly faster (5%)
- (Human Crew) Send your human crewmember to communicate with the Mantis. (Occurs on Confused Mantis)
- It's unclear if the 'Engi' are partly organic or entirely mechanical, but it's well known that they make exceptional engineers.
Though their inhabited worlds are well known, the origins of the emotionless Engi are a mystery. The majority of their bodies are made from nanomachines, giving the illusion of a silvery metallic 'skin.' At their construction yards, the Engi are seen working together to form massive organic machines adept at building ships, although they mostly mantain a bipedal appearence otherwise.
Their culture revolves around traditional social interactions. The Engi also wield powerful knowledge of machinery, and are gifted mechanics — especially when they're only expected to service and repair comparatively primitive human technology.
While the Engi are extremely intelligent, their primarily robotic bodies are very fragile. The delicate and very technical inner workings of an Engi are not nearly as rugged as regular organic material, like that found in humans. As a result, Engi usually make poor fighters; however, their immaculate knowledge of mechanics coupled with their immunity to most diseases can make them excellent allies.
The many scientific anomalies of Engi have been endless points of contention for human scientists; they argue incessantly over whether Engi are organic lifeforms by definition, or sentient machines. Despite their unique composition, Engi still require oxygen to survive. Most accept the explanation that they're simply a bridge between organic and robotic.
Despite a nonaggression pact with the Rebels, the Engi are the strongest supporters of the Galactic Federation, and have been secretly aiding them whenever possible. They consider restoring the Federation to be the highest priority. The Federation outsourced designing of their new Stealth Cruiser to the Engi. In addition to the Federation, the Engi are allies of the Zoltan. Since the collapse of the Federation, they have been preyed upon incessantly by the Mantis, who regard them as ideal slaves. Many Mantis ships have Engi crew members, possibly slaves, compensating for the Mantis' poor repair abilities.
Beside their advanced Med-bot Dispersal device, Engi often make use of drones in combat situations.
+ Repair speed is doubled
- Combat damage inflicted is halved
Engi are most useful when used as repair crew or manning ship systems, and should avoid one-on-one combat unless absolutely necessary, especially without medical support.
Note: System repairs, hull breaches, and fires are all fixed at double speed.
Note: Despite being mostly made up of nanobots, Engi can still suffocate and die from lack of oxygen.
- (Engi Crew) Remotely repair its targeting system. (Occurs on Malfunctioning Defense System)
- (Engi Crew) Have your Engi crew-member contact them. (Occurs on Engi Fleet Discussion)
- (Engi Crew) Send your Engi to calm down the infected. (Occurs on Unknown Disease on Mining Colony)
- (Engi Crew) Threat unresolved. Current mission imperative: Protocol 52.34. (Occurs on Engi distress call)
- (Engi Crew) Have your Engi crewmember negotiate with the Engi ship. (Occurs on The Engi Virus)
- (Engi Crew) Have your Engi crewmember hail the vessel and assess the damage. (Occurs on Two Smashed Ships)
- (Engi Crew) Negotiate a better deal. (Occurs on Refugee ship trading for scrap)
- (Engi Crew) Say ABADOTH. (Occurs on Nebula seen Ships Exchange Fire)
- The Engi are the only race to have official art that depicts them in a more detailed appearance.
- The Mantis disregard for individual lives led to their evolution as a vicious warrior race.
The violent and hostile Mantis appear, to Humans anyway, to resemble man-sized Praying Mantes, although they are much more aggressive than their namesakes. Whereas praying mantes kill prey merely to survive, the much larger and more intelligent Mantis race kill remorselessly to suit their own personal agendas — usually without survival as a concern, making for a pitiless and brutal insectoid warrior species. While humans and most other species have manufactured handheld weaponry to utilize in combat, the Mantis usually default to their agility and sharpened exoskeletal appendages to tear through their enemies, and their skill as warriors goes almost unchallenged in 1v1 combat, even against the rock species. The Mantis also possess extremely acidic saliva which can burn through flesh and melt most metal alloys. While Mantis excel at combat, especially personal combat, they are the least adept of all the races at technical repairs. They have overcome this problem by frequently taking Engi slaves. Engi slaves can be found on a majority of their bases and ships. Though some individual Mantes have been known to work with the Galactic Federation, the race as a whole tends to be deceptive, opportunistic, and untrustworthy, and can commonly be found piloting their signature style of well-armed spacecraft, hunting down weaker enemies in pursuit of their belongings. Human children are told tales of their red ships, and of the Mantis invasion of Earth.
+ Inflict 1.5x damage in combat
+ 1.2x move speed
- Halved repair speed
Mantis are best used as Boarding crew, as their increased damage and increased movement speed allow them to disrupt and destroy enemy systems and crew. They are also great at repelling boarders from your own ship, as they can arrive at their location quickly and either kill the crew before they can teleport back, or induce them to return quickly.
Note: System repairs, hull breaches, and fires are all fixed at half speed; even if a Mantis crewman is closer, it's usually better in the long run to leave him at his post, and send someone else to repair damage.
- (Mantis Crew) Have your Mantis oversee the repairs. (Occurs on Slug Oxygen Malfunction)
- (Mantis Crew) Attempt to hail him. (Occurs on Legendary thief KazaaakplethKilik Random Event)
- (Mantis Crew) Send your Mantis crewmember to communicate with the Mantis. (Occurs on Confused Mantis)
- (Mantis Crew) Interrogate him. (Occurs on Mantis Commando, an event removed/left out of the main game)
- Kazaaakpleth is a Mantis that can be found as a pilot in Subset's 2018 game, Into the Breach. This is the same character from the Legendary thief KazaaakplethKilik event.
- The 'Rockmen' of Vrachos IV are rarely seen and are known for their fortitude.
The Rockmen, as they have been nicknamed by humans, are called so because of their unique skin, which, according to scientific experiments, can be nearly as hard and rugged as solid rock. Additionally, the Rockmen are extremely well-conditioned and physically strong to compensate for their thick rock-like skin, giving them an astounding resilience. As a result of their physical attributes, the Rockmen have evolved throughout their race's existence into a warrior race which values personal strength and martial prowess over nearly everything else. While the Rockmen are generally not an adventurous race, and can only be consistently located within their own territories' borders, the Rockmen are liable to open fire on any ship they encounter that they aren't familiar with. Still, there are always exceptions to the rule, and having Rockmen crew can be very beneficial. Also, from random occurrences, some Rockmen seem to be quite religious.
+ Immune to fire
+ Health is increased to 150
- Movement speed is halved
Their increased health make them useful as both defense and Boarding crew, as they can outlast any other race in one on one combat, except for the Mantis, unless they are experienced combatants. Their extra health is also great for fixing hull breaches since they take longer to suffocate. Their immunity to fire obviously makes them perfect for putting out fires, and Rockmen can be devastating to enemy crew when boarding enemy ships in conjunction with fire weapons. However, their poor speed makes it hard for them to respond quickly in urgent situations.
- (Rock Crew) Send your Rock crew-member in. (Occurs on Fire on Small Research Station)
- (Rock Crew) Send your Rockmen crew in. (Occurs on Crystalline Research Facility)
- (Rock Crew) Put your Rock crew-member on the comm. (Occurs on Mantis Ship Adorned With Rock Body Parts)
- (Rock Crew) Send your Rock crew-member in to prevent a riot. (Occurs on Unknown Disease on Mining Colony)
- (Rock Crew) Offer to lead them out of the nebula. (Occurs on Rock Armoured Transport)
- (Rock Crew) Have your Rockmen pose as captain. (Occurs on Slug Captain Invites You to a Drink)
- The Rockmen are the only alien race whose homeworld is canonically mentioned by name.
- Ariadne is a female Rockman that can be found as a pilot in Subset's 2018 game, Into the Breach. This is the same character from the Rock Bride Transport event.
- The Rockmen are described as xenophobic, though are tolerant of the wisdom of the Zoltan. A store in Rock Space is established in an abandoned capital ship by a few Zoltan.
- The 'Zoltan' are allies of the 'Engi'. Their innate energy can power ship systems.
With the majority of their bodies composed of pure, harnessable energy, the Zoltan are ambivalent towards the Galactic Federation. Whilst a deeply officious and obtuse people, they generally favour diplomacy over acts of aggression and are known for being fair and just in their dealings with others. Due to their alliance with the Engi, Zoltans often appear in Engi Homeworlds or the various Engi-Controlled Sectors of space, although they inhabit their own home systems as well. Being ingenious experts of technology, the Zoltan race pioneered a unique ship-based shielding technology which can be found on nearly every Zoltan vessel. These shields are very difficult to breach, however they cannot regenerate during a battle - unless a Shield Overcharger drone is deployed. Therefore, once they are impacted by enemy fire enough to deactivate them, Zoltan vessels must rely on conventional shielding systems. They and the Engi control many sectors, but they themselves are rarely seen outside them.
Zoltan cost 60 to hire from Stores.
+ Provides power to occupied system
+ Explodes upon death, dealing 15 damage to each enemy in room
- Maximum health is reduced to 70
The Zoltan ability provides a single block of power to the ship system whose corresponding room they are currently standing in (no effect on subsystems). This is especially useful in reduced-power battles, or in battles against ships with Ion weapons, as their energy cannot be blocked by the Ion effect. For example, having two Zoltan in the shield system room will ensure that your ship will always have at least one layer of shields active at any time. The addition of Zoltan-provided power means maximum reactor power can be exceeded.
The Zoltan ability can also be used to "clean" power. Cloaking, Hacking, Teleporter, and Mind Control systems require a cooldown period after use that locks power into that system. By walking a Zoltan into a room with a system in cooldown, one of the power bars will turn from blue (cooldown) to yellow (Zoltan power). Leaving the room will empty the power bar, allowing that unit of power to be utilized elsewhere while the system is cooling down.
In Weapon and Drone Control systems, Zoltans provide power starting with the highest priority module (the left-most slot), and their power can only be redistributed by changing the priority of the modules.
Zoltan will explode upon death and deal 15 damage to all enemies in the room - allies are unaffected. While this ability was added with the Advanced Edition content, the ability still functions with the additional content disabled.
- (Zoltan Crew) Have your crew-member present his official documentation and pay the entry fee. (Occurs on Zoltan Trade Hub)
- (Zoltan Crew) Send your crewman to overcharge their systems. (Occurs on Federation Terraforming Team C12)
- Mafan is a Zoltan that can be found as a pilot in Subset's 2018 game, Into the Breach.
- These telepathic Slugs were shunned in the Galactic Federation for their constant thievery and attempts at manipulation.
The xenophobic, leisurely Slugs are the third rarest race in the galaxy, behind the mythical Crystal and Lanius. Their home world and all sectors under their control are engulfed in enormous nebulae. They developed on an ocean planet which lead to them evolving unique telepathic abilities in order to overcome the general lack of visibility. As a result, Slug ships aren't built with sensors; the telepathic powers of the crew are just as effective, if not more so, than any electronic system. This leaves them at a distinct disadvantage outside nebulae however, so that even within their sectors they are almost never seen outside the concealing clouds. While not as aggressive as the Rockmen or the Mantis, Slugs are both greedy and deceitful. They prey upon ships that wander into their home systems, often leading them into traps, as well as resort to piracy in other systems.
+ Telepathic powers reveal rooms and lifeforms even when sensors are down (or nonexistent).
+ Immune to mind control.
Slugs can see into adjacent rooms connected to the one they're standing in. They can also detect enemy crew members on your ship or theirs.
As of Advanced Edition, Slugs can now detect what type of life form they are sensing and what they are currently doing, whereas before it was just a dot on the screen. It has not been seen to have changed any events - this merely appears to be a change to how you detect enemies during combat.
- (Slug Crew) Have your Slug talk them into letting you go. (Occurs on Zoltan Security Checkpoint)
- (Slug Crew) Our Slug senses someone aboard the ship. Investigate it. (Occurs on Slug Transport with Military Escort)
- (Slug Crew) Have your crew monitor their life signatures. (Occurs on Slug Home Nebula Surrender)
- (Slug Crew) "Sir, allow me to assess his mental state." (Occurs on Single Life Form on Moon)
- (Slug Crew) Attempt to communicate telepathically. (Occurs on Intelligent Lifeform on Planet)
- (Slug Crew) Check for lifeforms and keep a lookout for ships while looting the wreck. (Occurs on Disabled Rock Transport)
- (Slug Crew) Have your Slug crewmember oversee the purchase. (Occurs on Poorly Armed Slug Ship)
- (Slug Crew) Engage in a duel of the mind. (Occurs on The Black Raven)
- (Slug Crew) Ask your Slug crew to scan for survivors. (Occurs on Nebula seen Ships Exchange Fire)
- (Slug Crew) Ask your Slug crewmember to scan for life forms. (Occurs on Nebula seen Ships Exchange Fire)
- (Slug Crew) "Sir: We can dock, but I sense that we better plan on making a purchase..." (Occurs on Merchant with Conspicuous Markings)
- Ancient ancestors of the Rockmen.
Descended from a splinter group of Rockmen who rejected their species' violent ways long ago, the Crystalmen are almost completely unknown in the galaxy, having hidden from all other sentient life. They can be encountered as starting crew on the Crystal Cruisers, in Tektite (the 3rd layout of the rock ship), in the Dense Asteroid Field Distress Call event, or within the crystal sector itself (they are at shops to recruit/found as prisoners/etc). Acquiring a Crystal crew member from the aforementioned event allows the Crystal Cruiser quest.
Crystal cost 60 to hire from Stores and can only be purchased in the Hidden Crystal Worlds.
- Lockdown power (activate in crew box)
- Half suffocation damage
- Health is increased to 125
- Movement speed reduced by 20%
Lockdown: Active ability that coats the room they're in with crystals, preventing anyone from entering or leaving. The crystals wear off over time. Lockdown lasts 12 seconds and requires 50 seconds to recharge (i.e. 38 seconds downtime). Enemies can break the lockdown, but it is extremely durable.
Potential strategies to use Lockdown could be during a boarding attack by locking down your most precious system room or during boarding enemy ships by locking down a room so your crew can destroy the system in it uninterrupted. One particular example would be locking down the Medbay on an enemy ship, so it can be destroyed before any crew members are able to reach it, making it much easier to board and kill the crew of a ship that has one. With multiple crystal crew, or few enemy crew, it is possible to trap injured enemies so that they can't reach the medbay anyway.
The crystal race was created for a donor that contributed 2,000 USD to FTL's Kickstarter campaign.
- (Crystal Crew) Reactivate it. (Occurs on Ancient Device)
- (Crystal Crew) Have your Crystalline Being re-calibrate your weapons. (Occurs on Crystalline Cache)
- (Crystal Crew) Have your crew speak to them. (Occurs on Crystal Civilian Question)
- These anaerobic beings seem friendly enough.
The Lanius are a metallic scavenger race prone to aggression, whose biological composition somehow drains oxygen from the rooms they occupy, making them potentially deadly adversaries. They arrived to the FTL universe with the release of FTL: Advanced Edition.
The Lanius are scavengers — metallic lifeforms that rely on the absorption of minerals to sustain themselves. Their society ebbs and flows in hibernation cycles; they may lie dormant for many years, even while hurtling through space. As soon as they become aware of significant metal deposits, they reawaken. Usually, this occurs in the dying stages of a galactic civilization or in the wake of intergalactic war.
Reports of reawakened Lanius have appeared in many of the war-torn and abandoned sectors of Federation Space. Their arrival has created panic as they indiscriminately seek out sources of metal — although more diplomatic individuals have suggested that they can be reasoned with.
+/- Drains oxygen from rooms.
+ No damage from lack of oxygen.
- Movement speed reduced by 15%.
They drain Oxygen about as fast as a hull breach in a single square. You can follow the same process used to feed oxygen to a breached room to sustain the oxygen in the room your Lanius crewmen share with other crewmen.
- (Lanius Crew) Try to contact the ship. (Occurs on Civilian Ship fleeing from Lanius)
- (Lanius Crew) Have your crew admonish their captain. (Occurs on Civilian vessel under fire from a Lanius ship)
- (Lanius Crew) Ask if they require assistance. (Occurs on Damaged Lanius Absorbing Jump Beacon)
- (Lanius Crew) Offer to copy your translator's data suite. (Occurs on Federation Science-Craft docked with Lanius)
- (Lanius Crew) Attempt to use them to delay the Rebels. (Occurs on Lanius Absorbing Rebel Base)
- (Lanius Crew) Request some scrap. (Occurs on Lanius Salvaging Small Civilian Craft)
- (Lanius Crew) Ask for an alternative trade. (Occurs on Lanius Scavenger Trader)
- (Lanius Crew) Offer to help in the process. (Occurs on Merchant Ship docked with Lanius Transport)
- (Lanius Crew) Send over a Lanius crewmember to plunder the ship of resources. (Occurs on Powered-Down Lanius Vessel)
- (Lanius Crew) Offer to have your crewmember help. (Occurs on Space Station under Construction)
- (Lanius Crew) Your Lanius crewmember gestures frantically. (Occurs on The Engi Virus)
Unless a bug occurs in the Flagship fights, you have a mod that includes them or uses a save game editor, you will never see one of these in a normal game. This type of race cannot be found within ftl.dat (Mac OS) or data.dat (Windows), and although there is an event that references this race (GHOST_SHIP), this event was never finished, but you can still see how this event was to be planned out here. The event was probably supposed to use the "Horror" track from the FTL OST. Other than that event, there is supposedly a single ghost on the Rebel Flagship after the "Advanced AI" takes over, hence representing it, although this is highly unlikely since the Rebel Flagship maintains its power surge consistency and behaves like any other AI ship, auto firing and having Lv.1 manning on all systems.
- - 50 base HP
- + Immune to suffocation.
The ghost sprites and exact mechanics were ported in FTL: Captain's Edition as AI holograms. This mod also has rogue AIs as a separate race in addition to having "normal" AIs as servants to other races (chiefly, the Engi and Zoltan). AI ships in CE have a boxy, gray-colored hull reminiscent of computer hardware.
The Differences Between Races
|Race||Store Cost||Health||Repair||Damage||Movement||No. of Blue Options||Special|
|Humans||45||100||1||1||1||1||-10% experience requirements|
|Engi||50||100||2||0.5||1||8||+100% repair speed, -50% damage|
|Mantis||55||100||0.5||1.5||1.2*||4||+50% damage, +20% movement, -50% repair|
|Rockmen||55||150||1||1||0.5*||6||Immune to fire, -50% movement, +50% health, X1.67 fire extinguishing speed***|
|Zoltan||60||70||1||1||1||2||Adds 1 power to occupied system, explodes on death, -30% health|
|Slug||45||100||1||1||1||11||Reveals adjacent rooms and crew of ships, immune to mind-control**|
Lockdown power, -50% suffocation damage, -20% movement, +25% health, X0.83 fire extinguishing speed***
Drains oxygen from occupied room, immune to suffocation, -15% movement
*Lanius speed is not specified in-game, and was measured by testing crew speed. The same tests suggest that in-game descriptions for Mantis, Rocks, and Crystals are very slightly wrong in practice, possibly due to tiny delays when crew change directions or pass through doors.
**Advanced Edition Content only
***According to datamining to the game
- A "ghost" race is hidden within the FTL files. According to the events file, they were to have been encountered by the player's crew during the exploration of a wrecked "ghost ship". It was also suspected to be found in the cancelled "Quarantine" sector. The "ghost" race is available with savegame editors and some mods. "Ghosts" have 50 health, do not require oxygen but don't drain oxygen, and have the same look as a human crew but transparent and a yellow glow.
- Health percentages are built around a base value of 100.
- Mantis and Rockmen have the same potential damage given their health and damage output. (e.g. In a fight a Rockman will last 50% longer, but a Mantis will deal damage 50% faster, meaning they both have the same potential.)
- A Mantis (Kazaakpleth), Rockman (Ariadne), and Zoltan (Mafan) can be found in Subset's 2018 game, Into the Breach, suggesting the two games are set in the same universe.